DEVON'S women enjoyed the perfect start to 2019 as they completed victories over Durham and Wales respectively in tense affairs at Heathcoat and North Devon.
Durham were dispatched by three wickets and Wales followed suit by the same margin 24 hours later.
Devon skipper Amara Carr asked Durham, now coached by former international Danielle Hazell, to bat first at Heathcoat
Devon soon made inroads into the visitors’ batting with a wicket each for Milly Squire and Emily Edgcombe, which reduced Durham to 11 for two.
Spin was soon introduced and although Rachel Petherick and Becky Glen were able to add a dozen each, once both fell to Stephanie Hutchins alarm bells were ringing.
Becca Silk turned in an exemplary spell (4-6) as she bowled ten overs straight through.
A super run-out from a direct hit by Sophie Florides, coupled with a further off-spin wicket, this time from Charlie Phillips, closed the Durham innings as they were bundled out for 97.
Devon had to go and out bat for 35 minutes – always tricky – and so it proved with Claire Varcoe, nicking off to first slip and Squire clean bowled first ball. Skipper Carr joined Ellie Mitchell at nine for two and together the pair started to get on top of the conditions. They were going along smoothly until an injury to Ellie Mitchell led to her retirement and brought Georgia Hennessy to the crease.
The situation got worse as Hennesey was caught behind for the second first-ball dismissal of the reply, leaving Devon in something of a hole.
Carr returned after the break to continue at a run a ball, but when she misjudged a cut and was caught behind and Edgcombe played-on on soon after, Devon were 51 for five.
Mitchell had already returned to the crease and was joined by Olivia Churcher. The pair steadied the ship with a partnership more than 30 to take the hosts close to their target.
Churcher fell for a patient 15, but Mitchell carried her bat for an unbeaten 42 to lead Devon to a three-wicket win.
Wales opted to bat first at North Devon and were soon in trouble.
Skipper Amara Carr took a smart catch first ball down from Milly Squire to remove dangerous Kiwi international Rachel Priest. And with Georgia Hennessy claiming a smart catch at first slip off Emily Edgcombe to remove Gabby Basketter, both Welsh openers were in the hut with 21 on the board.
Lydia Clements, who plays for North Devon when home from university, was dismissed by a superb diving catch from Carr from the impressive Florides.
And with Seren Hughes bowled by Squire soon after, Wales were in trouble at 22 for four.
Lauren Parfitt, the Welsh captain, was joined by Alex Griffiths (39), and although slow they were added 59 for the sixth wicket before Parfitt was trapped lbw by the returning Squire.
Another good catch from Hennessy at wide mid-on from Silk had Wales back in bother at 92 for seven. They had to thank a quickfire 19 from Danielle Gibson, supported by Georgia Parfitt (12) before Carr completed her-hat trick of dismissals with a stumping as Wales were eventually bowled out for 132.
The early loss of Devon opener Amy Weir, bizarrely to another first-ball dismissal, was soon forgotten as Squire joined debutant Emma Corney and comfortably took Devon to 31 before Squire didn't get hold of a long-hop and was well caught at square-leg.
Skipper Carr came and went quickly, well caught at slip by Basketter off the bowling of Alex Griffiths. Emma Corney eventually fell lbw to cross-batted shot for 20, a good effort on debut, which brought Churcher to the crease.
For the second day running she batted with great determination and patience, understanding the situation as she added 50 with Edgcombe to get Devon close. Churcher’s demise, coupled soon after with the wicket of Silk, left 20 needed to win when Becca Halliday went out to join Edgcombe. Keeping their nerve the pair saw Devon home, Edgcombe closing on 48.
A second gutsy win by Devon in the space of two days, further evidence of their growing maturity as a side.
Next up is a trip to Himley CC to face Worcestershire this Sunday 12th May.